There is a difference between uploading a book for immediate publication as opposed to doing a pre-order. Some people feel that doing pre-orders is inadvisable, since on the day of actual publication, you don’t get the “spike” on Amazon if readers had already placed the orders for the book. However, the advantage I feel I’m gaining from doing a pre-order for the “big deal book” of this series outweighs the possible drawbacks.
So, here are some things to remember when doing a pre-order. FYI, I distribute The Inventor’s Son series wide beyond Amazon, using a wonderful distributing service called Draft2Digital for all retailers besides Amazon and Google Play.
- The amount of “assets” you need to do a pre-order varies by retailer. Amazon requires at least the rough draft of the book and I believe they need a cover, though I may be incorrect about that part. Their ToS was not especially clear on this important point. I personally feel having a cover that is pretty much the final version is important compared to the final draft. For Draft2Digital, one does not need anything except a title, depending on the circumstances.
- Amazon will accept a pre-order for up to 90 days before your release date. Draft2Digital can accept them for far longer in advance, even six months.
- Amazon needs the final draft of the book 10 days before your scheduled release date. When setting up your book in KDP’s Dashboard, after selecting the option to do a pre-order as opposed to publishing immediately, you can select the option of uploading a final version or a rough version that’s not ready to publish yet. That’s letting Amazon know that they can’t release the book the way it is, but it’s also letting Amazon know that they need to get a final version 10 days before publication. They set a clock for you, and I also set my calendar to make sure I have the final spiffy formatted version of The Explorer’s Son uploaded to them 2 days before their “do or die” date. If that gets screwed up for any reason, Amazon will not let you do another pre-order for an entire year.
- One of the major advantages of a pre-order is getting that all-important sales page link. With Amazon, it took less than the 12 usual hours to get that page up, and I already have a link to the sales page here. Now that link can be put in the other books in the series, and when I start my mega-super-social-media-marketing-blitz soon, I’ve got all my links ready to go! With Draft2Digital, it was even easier. One of the super-great services they provide is the ability to add an “Also By” page. The magic people at D2D then go and put links to all your books, in all your retailers they distribute to, in all the correct versions of each book. This morning, when I uploaded The Explorer’s Son at their site, a page popped up asking me if I wanted them up automatically update all my other books’ “Also By” pages with the link for the new book. Yes, please!
- It’s been a while since I published anything on Amazon where I have to worry about VAT on European digital sales. For the time being, I opted not to add extra to the prices to cover the VAT, but that’s also on account of me being lazy. Drat2Digital (and Google Play, I think) do all that VAT stuff for you. On Google Play (if you are able to publish on there) you can adjust pricing up to the release date, and if a customer pre-ordered the book and the price had been changed, they charge the customer the lower price, just FYI.
I’m excited, but I’ve also got a lot of work ahead of my. As a result, my NaNoWriMo is suffering for it. I’ll have to get to Pulp Speed if I want to win it this year. I’m glad it’s not December yet!
Have you had good experiences with pre-orders? How well does a pre-order work if you are putting your book into KDP Select?